Why Do You Need an Endodontist?
You are probably familiar with dentists and orthodontists. But there are a number of other oral health specialists that you may be less familiar with. These doctors work with patients who have very specific issues involving the teeth, gums, jaw, or mouth as a whole.
An endodontist is a doctor who works specifically with the roots and pulp of teeth. They help patients maintain their healthy smiles for life and overcome the kinds of issues that can lead to pain, larger health problems, and embarrassment.
Hopefully you will never need to visit an endodontist. But it is a possibility even if you take excellent care of your teeth. And when you need help maintaining your smile, you will be glad that endodontists are available to offer their expertise and assistance.
This overview is intended to show you everything you need to know about the field of endodontics. If and when you need to consult with a specialist, rely on the team at Florida Dental Rejuvenation.
How Does a Doctor Become an Endodontist?
Specialists may study a very specific aspect of oral health, but that does not mean they lack extensive training and experience. In fact, all endodontists start out as dentists. They receive the same training and undergo the same testing as the doctor who cares for your general oral health. After that, endodontists go on to receive an additional two years of study focused specifically on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of issues that affect the root of the tooth.
The root of the tooth might seem like ann insignificant feature, but it is actually an essential part of the tooth that has a big impact on your overall oral health. That is why endodontists receive so much additional training. If a patient has issues with their roots, they will be recommended by a dentist to an endodontist. The specialist will then rely on his education and experience to provide the highest standard of care possible.
Why Visit an Endodontist?
You do not have to receive a referral in order to see an endodontist. If you have reason to believe that there is an issue affecting the roots of your teeth you are encouraged to seek out an expert opinion. But considering that it can be hard to spot issues. And that waiting too long to pursue treatment can cause worse problems. You are encouraged to watch out for common signs that you need to visit an endodontist:
- You experience severe pain anytime you chew or apply pressure to your teeth. This should definitely raise a red flag if you normally feel no pain when eating.
- You feel a persistent toothache even when you are not using your teeth for anything. The ache can range from a dull throb to a sharp, shooting pain.
- You suddenly find that your teeth have become sensitive to heat or cold. Any new level of sensitivity, even mild, should get your attention.
- You notice that you teeth have become sensitive to sweets. This can happen along with a temperature sensitivity or on its own.
- You discover that your tooth has become discolored. A change is color is natural, but if the change is rapid or extreme you may want to see an endodontist.
- Your gums begin to swell. This is a clear sign that you have an infected tooth. And when a tooth is infected the problem often starts or spreads to the root of the tooth.
- You find a pimple or abscess near one of your teeth. This is another sign of infection. Often the pimple will accompany the appearance of a bad taste in your mouth.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms you should see an endodontist. It may be nothing and clear up on its own. Or it could be a problem that requires immediate attention.
If you do have an issue with the root of a tooth, the course of treatment often involves a root canal. This procedure is designed to eliminate the infection and save the tooth at the same time. For patients with serious oral health problems it is the best possible resolution. An endodontist is a specialist in performing root canals and exactly the type of doctor you will want to see for a consultation and treatment.
What Does a Root Canal Involve?
Most people have a vague understanding of what a root canal is. And many conclude that it is one of the most dreaded procedures they can imagine. While it’s true that a root canal is a major procedure, it is not as painful or intense as many people expect. It is also preferable to many of the alternatives.
If an endodontist recommends that you get a root canal you will want to understand exactly what the surgery actually involves. Eliminating some of the mystery and uncertainty can help you feel a lot more comfortable about this necessary surgery. Here are the steps most commonly involved with a root canal procedure performed by an endodontist:
- A local anesthesia is applied to numb the affected tooth and the tissue around it.
- A dental dam is applied that only permits access to the affected tooth and the surrounding area. This creates a sterile environment for the endodontist to work in.
- A small hole is drilled into the top of the tooth, or the back if it is one of the flat front teeth. This allows access to the infected pulp/roots.
- The infected pulp is removed from the tooth using special instruments. Because of the anesthesia this process is not painful. After the pulp and nerves are gone the tooth cannot feel anything.
- The area that has been cleared out is disinfected.
- The area that has been cleared out is carefully expanded and shaped by special instruments that can travel in these tiny cavities.
- A special filler and sealant are applied to the empty area. It is important to fill and seal the area in order to prevent a repeat infection.
- After the procedure is done it is common for an antibiotic to be prescribed. You will likely experience mild pain for several days.
- Once the procedure and healing process are complete your tooth is free of infection and your smile is as good as new.
This is an in-depth procedure. But just consider all that is involved with removing a tooth and putting in a replacement. Ultimately, an endodontist allows you to save your original smile rather than recreate it using synthetic materials.
What to Expect from Your Endodontist
A medical degree is not the only thing you expect your endodontist to have. You also want them to be true professionals who understand and respect the needs of their patients. Since you will come to rely on these specialists for so much, you want every one of your interactions to be a positive one. In addition to the right education and experience, look for these character traits in the endodontist you choose to work with:
- Availability – If you need to see an endodontist, time is probably of the essence. Find one that can work with you as soon as possible and is willing to work around your schedule.
- Accessibility – Your doctor should make it easy to book an appointment, process your insurance payments, get information and answers, and visit the office.
- Empathy – Root problems can be very uncomfortable, and the treatment required is not always pleasant. A good endodontist will understand the kind of pain and anxiety that patients may be feeling and do everything possible to deliver a comfortable experience.
- Flexibility – No two patients are exactly alike. And providing and excellent standard of care does no mean doing everything by the book. Look for an endodontist that will create a course of treatment based around your needs as a patient, not simply your oral health problem.
Consult with an Endodontist as Needed
Tooth pain rarely goes away on its own. Worse, an infection in the mouth can spread to other parts of the body and seriously compromise your health and well-being. Rather than trying to put up with the pain or self-medicating, visit an endodontist as soon as you can. The pain could turn out to be nothing, but you won’t know for sure until you consult with an expert.
The team at Florida Dental Rejuvenation is here to help you find all the medical care you require. If you prefer to work with a practice that strives for perfection in all things, we are the practice you will want to work with. Call us at 561-203-4716 to book an appointment around your schedule.